Greg and I finally visited the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. While the museum is on the small side we enjoyed our visit. The architecture is breathtaking with area after area begging for photos to be taken. The museum houses paintings by Rembrandt, Titian, and more but my favorite was the Portrait of Isabella Clara Eugenia by Frans Pourbus II. Finally, I can't forget to mention the 10 million dollar reward for the 1990 art heist. We both agree that we recommend a visit to the museum.
Earlier this year we were in London and Winnie the Pooh: Exploring a classic was on display but I never found the time to visit it. I was thrilled when I heard that the exhibit would be coming to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston! As members of the museum, we were able to get free tickets on select days in September.
We opted for a Saturday morning visit and we're so thankful that we had tickets and that we are members. The line to purchase tickets was out the front door, down the stairs, and curved to the right of the museum. With our passes, we were welcomed right on in. The Winnie the Pooh exhibit is adorable! Kids and kids at heart will love the interactive pieces, the artwork, the toy collection, and so much more. I can't recommend a visit to the exhibit and the museum itself enough!!
Saturday morning we drove to Lincoln MA for a visit to DeCordova Museum & Sculpture Park. Greg and I have been there before and are members now but this was Porscha's first visit. The Sculpture Park is pet friendly and Fred loves exploring the park! I can't wait to go back next month when they exhibit Yayoi Kusama's infinity room; Where The Lights In My Heart Go.
We spent a little more than an hour wandering through the exhibits and would have spent more time there but my air-cast was starting to hurt and Fred isn't allowed inside the museum. Before leaving we did go into their shop where you will find many unique items. I found a collection of Andy Warhol Polaroids and a metal empire state building kit for Greg. Porscha snagged a cool book on scarf styles.
DeCordova Museum & Sculpture Park is highly recommended by us for a unique and beautiful day in Massachusetts.
I've spoken about her previously by my teenage cousin Porscha is coming to stay with us again this summer and we can't wait! I have been working on a list of things to do while she's here rather than going away for just a weekend. My list includes some of our past favorites, some new places, and some that are just new to her. All are within 3 hours from Boston and are great for couples, friends, and families.
Boston Area (short walks, train ride, or taxi ride)
The Patios on Government Center
Boston Public Market (Excellent for foodie finds and gifts)
Museum of Fine Arts (Everything from Degas to Chihuly)
Institute of Contemporary Art
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Castle Island (Walk along the ocean, peek into the fort, and enjoy lunch at Sullivan's)
Shopping on Newbury St
Mccrea's Caramel factory (Delicious caramels that we gave as thank you's in Paris)
Taza Chocolate Factory
On Sunday mornings the Museum of Fine Arts Boston opens at 10 am. Knowing that we had plans for Lamb Jam later in the day we went right at Opening. The three of us wandered through almost all of the museum starting at the top and ending at the current exhibits. We wandered through contemporary art, European art, American art, Sculptures, and more. A few of my favorites here are paintings by Kahlo, Monet, Van Gogh, Pollock, and Degas.
Before we left the museum we stopped into the New American Cafe and enjoyed the view of a glass sculpture by Chihuly. We opted to sit at the bar area and our server welcomed us with waters and menus. We ordered some wine along with a cheese plate, chips, and spring rolls for a light lunch.
The MFA should be on the list of locals, visitors, and anyone looking to enjoy a day in Boston.
1.5 hours west of Boston you will enter Springfield MA. Our destination for the day was the Springfield Museums and specifically the Amazing World of Dr Seuss. We pre-purchased tickets online but found that the museums weren't incredibly busy during our visit.
Our first stop was the sculpture garden in the middle of the museums. Today there also happened to be a chalk art festival on the grounds. There were several very impressive pieces being created by local artists. We played and took photos with all of the incredible sculptures and enjoyed the beautiful weather.
The 5 of us went into the Amazing World of Dr Seuss at our scheduled time and handed our passes to the employee. The basement level is an arts and crafts room for kids and those that are kids at heart. Today visitors had the option to make a paper sock.
On the main level it's a Dr Seuss play-land! We sat on, with, and in some of the sculptures! We also read and watched all of the interactive elements. On the top floor picture taking is limited but the pieces of Dr Seuss history are awesome. We looked at personal belongings, sculptures, sketches, and letters to his nephew.
We highly recommend a visit to the Amazing World of Dr Seuss as well as wandering around the Springfield Museums.
Let me tell you a little more about myself. I absolutely love traveling! If I'm not traveling, I'm researching travel. I'm even starting a course to become a travel agent. With all that being said I hate flying, I suffer from anxiety, and I am a horrible worrier. Thanks to pills prescribed by my doctor I am able to fly without completely freaking out. I made it to London with very little problems however once I was there my anxiety hit! All week long I had anxiety attacks, and then exhaustion from the attacks. I do not take medication for it and usually can calm myself down via breathing, meditation, working out, or talking with family and friends.
This morning I was pretty tired from everything and just enjoyed a slow start to my day. There are so many sights that I would have loved to rush to in London but sometimes you just need to listen to your body and mind and take a step back.
To start my day I ventured to the nearby Tate Modern Museum (one of my favorite museums). The lines to see the special exhibits were pretty long and I had plans in the afternoon so I opted for the "free" exhibits (I did make a 10 euro donation before entering). I love contemporary art, sculptures, and pieces that make us think about more than our eyes see. I haven't had the opportunity lately but when I'm home I create abstract paintings with a variety of mediums. I am constantly inspired by the amazing pieces of artists as well as unique perspectives from the places we visit.
London can be an expensive city but I love that everyone can experience a piece the art community for free. Here's an article from Visit London about the 23 free museums in London (keep in mind that donations are appreciated).
I took in a little more of London while slowly making my way to the Sanderson Hotel for my afternoon tea. I was thrilled that the sun was out and the temperatures were warming enough for me to wear one of my favorite dresses.
Prior to arriving in London I made an online reservations for one at the Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea. I checked in to the restaurant and quickly used to the restroom to wash up. I opted for a table inside since it was still a little chilly outside. My server welcomed me and presented me with cards and bottles of the various types of teas I could order. Tip: you are able to order a pot of tea in one flavor and when finished try another flavor. I ordered my tea along with a glass of champagne. I was happy to see that the restaurant offered a vegan menu (no need for Lactaid today) but unfortunately I was slightly disappointed.
The atmosphere is lovely, the place settings adorable, the service professional and the food appearance is whimsical. My disappointment was in the flavors of the food. For the savory dishes the scotch egg was very good but the rest of the sandwiches were overwhelmed by avocado. The sweet items were mixed. The meringues were too soft and ended up being chewy (Meringue cookies should have a crunchy exterior while the inside is tender), the marshmallows were too sticky but the cakes were very good. My time at the restaurant was relaxing afternoon and even though it wasn't perfect, I would go back and try their regular menu.
I made my way back to the hotel via cab and spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing with a movie and glass of wine.
When Greg got out of work we crossed the street and decided to try some tapas at Camino Bankside. We were seated right away even without a reservation. We ordered a couple of cocktails and perused the menu. Our server came back with some olives for us and we opted for the tomato bread, padron peppers, Iberico de belotta ham, baby squid, octopus, and patatas bravas.
The Iberico ham is always delicious and I do enjoy eating it on its own but it's also very nice with the tomato bread. The squid was hot and crispy, the peppers were tender and not overly hot, and the octopus was tender. The patatas bravas were tasty but a little on the sweet side. At first it was a little off putting to me (I prefer mine to be completely savory) but once you combined both sauces it was satisfying.
We made our way back to the hotel but did stop at the small M&S store for more water and snacks. We did frequent this small grocery store throughout our time in London and can recommend it.
This morning we got up and ready and left the hotel and headed west. We stopped at Starbucks along the way for coffee and breakfast.
Our first stop of the day was Wat Mongkolrata Temple in Tampa. We only wandered around the exterior property and took some photos. From there we drove to St Petersburg to visit the Dali Museum. During the short drive I happened to see a billboard for the museum and I was ecstatic! Not only would we be viewing works by Dali but there just happened to be a Frida Kahlo exhibit!
We entered the museum and decided to visit the Frida Kaho exhibit first. Not only was the exhibit about her art but also her life. We were deeply moved by the artwork, photographs, and pieces in her own words. While the exhibit was simple in design the combined pieces flooded us with a variety of emotions.
The works by Salvador Dali made us emotional, curious, amazed, and excited. We were truly inspired by the depth, thoughtfulness, and level of detail in each piece. Later on that evening we had a spirited conversation about how he painted, how amazing his brain worked, and what would took away from it for our own paintings.
Finally we visited the garden and the gift shop. The day was beautiful and the weather perfect for wandering around the maze.
Driving to St Pete Beach we hit a good amount of traffic. We tried to go to a restaurant recommended by my brother in law however the parking was very limited. We drove a little further down the road and decided to try The Salty Rim. We opted to sit on their deck with the beautiful scenery. The staff were all really friendly and helpful. Our drinks were also very good. The portions are huge! We ordered Conch fritters, grouper bites, fish and chips, and sesame seared tuna steak. Everything was good well and was delicious.
Luckily the ride back to Orlando is very pretty because we hit rush hour traffic! A while later and we arrived back to the Waldorf Astoria Orlando. Sadly my friend had to head back home since she was working the next two days.
After she left we decided to sit down in the lounge (Peacock Alley) and enjoy a few rounds of Manhattan's along with some snacks. We ended our evening back up in our room relaxing with a nice bottle of red wine.
This review is from January 2017.
Apparently people in western Massachusetts and Connecticut only like Dunkin Donuts. We couldn't find an easily accessible Starbucks for the life of us. With that being said we checked into our hotel and made our way over to Ippodo Tea for a couple Matcha Tea drinks. Greg opted for a strong Matcha (sadly I can't remember the name) while I chose a Matcha Soy latte. A very enjoyable start to the weekend.
Our main reason for our weekend in NYC was so that I could take Greg to some of the museums I've been to. Occasionally we go to New York and I get to explore but poor Greg has to work. On this trip we went to MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) and to The MET (Metropolitan Museum of Art).
Here's some of our favorite moments from MOMA
Both of us are enamored how The MET creates experiences with their collection! Here's some of our faves from The Met
On Saturday January 21st 2017 we were lucky enough to witness and be a small part of the Women's March. We were profoundly happy to see what can be done through solidarity!
Same start to the morning as yesterday but then I ventured to The British Museum.
The basic structure of The British Museum is amazing. Then once you are inside the exhibits are extraordinary. You have pieces from The Parthenon, The Rosetta Stone, Cleopatra, Easter Island, and so much more. Unfortunately, it's also one of the busiest museums I've ever been to. I went mid-week and can't imagine how it would be on the weekend! Even with the madness of tourists and school children the visit was well worth it!
When it came to lunch I remembered walking by a Wagamama. I could definitely go for a yummy bowl of Spicy Beef Ramen. A seat for one was easy to come by and the staff were friendly. I ordered a lemongrass and ginger drink and my Ramen. 15 minutes later my soup was delivered. Okay wait a minute, where is the rich broth? Where is the heat? Oye! This was bland, and mildly spicy (chili oil couldn't even help). Definitely not like I get at home. After this small disappointment I headed back to the hotel for a relaxing afternoon.
When Greg got out of work the lobby bar was packed so we crossed the street to The Jones Family Project. That lovely Lavender Mojito.....ahhhhhh.
For dinner we walked up the street to Banh Mi 11. For the full review and pictures visit here.